Q: How is the Center of Engineering and Industrial Development (CIDESI) represented in Mexico and how does the center’s work affect the automotive industry?
A: CIDESI has 150 employees, 70% of which are focused on R&D. We have a strong presence across the country with branches in Tijuana, the State of Mexico, Campeche, and Monterrey in the research and innovation park in Apodaca. CIDESI offers many different courses and the institution is certified to provide master’s and PhD degrees. However, we do not compete with the universities in Queretaro because they work at a college level, while we focus on post-graduate degrees in manufacturing, mechatronics, electronics, energy, and advanced materials. We currently have 180 students and 100 of them are PhD students. They work on institutional projects and develop the designs that are needed for several industrial applications. In Mexico, we have many post-graduate programs supported by the National Council of Science and Technology (CONACYT). Most master’s students are between 24 and 26 years old, while PhD students range between 26 and 30.
Q: With manufacturing being the most popular subject, how does CIDESI boost the popularity of the other areas?
A: There is no bias toward any area of the institution, but since CIDESI is recognized as one of the leading manufacturing centers in Mexico, most students come to study manufacturing related fields. We have dualdegree programs with universities outside the country, like the University of Sheffield in the UK, for example. Other examples include Aachen University in Germany, which offers a dual-degree in mechatronics. Similarly, this semester CIDESI started a program with the University of Detroit Mercy, related exclusively with subjects in the automotive area. CIDESI’s campus in the State of Mexico is neighboring Ford’s plant in Cuautitlan; we have a joint venture with them and currently there are ten students working on their masters degrees in Detroit. The four major divisions in CIDESI are administrative, R&D, aeronautic and aerospace, and post-graduate. The latter has a high rank in the institution, and its staff is in charge investigating the development of global trends and the current needs of the industry. Based on this, the team evaluates and reconfigures the courses to better target the automotive industry.
Q: How do students learn about CIDESI from a high school level, and what collaborations does CIDESI have with other educational institutes?
A: CIDESI has a strong communication program, we announce our courses on our webpage, attend college events, and CONACYT always promotes the courses. CIDESI is recruiting students throughout the whole year, and when the time comes we test 10% or 20% of them, in order to select the best students. Our plan for the next five years is to have 20% of the students working on their PhDs with a dual-degree from a foreign university. The University of Sheffield in particular is very ambitious in terms of accepting students from all over the world. Sheffield has a strong capacity in the aeronautic sector, it has a Boeing center where it makes turbines, and we hope to be able to do that in the next 20 years.
We selected a few institutions in the world with which we wanted to have a relationship, and in my previous center I selected the University of Sheffield, SUNY University in Albany, and UT in Austin. CIDESI follows the same strategy; Sheffield is very strong in manufacturing and Aachen in mechatronics, which is why CIDESI looked for those collaborations. All these universities share their knowledge with our center. These institutions are really pleased because we only send our top students to these programs. At the moment, the institution is negotiating with Ford in Dearborn, Detroit to extend the collaboration between Detroit Mercy, Ford, and CIDESI. However, Ford no longer wants to focus only on computer design in Mexico, and the idea is to form capable human capital to tackle design and development problems in Ford’s plant in Cuautitlan.
Q: What kind of automotive innovations are coming from CIDESI in the next few years?
A: We are now opening the coating research area that will complement the ones we already have. Every component that is exposed to air and other environmental factors eventually needs to be protected. CIDESI is buying instrumentation to carry out different kinds of coatings and we already hired three PhD experts in this area. We are going to be developing our coating capacities, while keeping in mind the needs of the industry in Queretaro and the rest of the country.